Customer insights are an essential element in any marketing plan. Insights give rise to innovations, new go-to-market strategies and new business models. They can also produce critical tactical-level improvements in marketing activities.  

So it is disappointing that the February 2016 edition of The CMO Survey, which surveyed 289 U.S.-based marketing leaders, finds that those marketers report a slight reduction in their companies’ development and use of customer insights, compared to data from 2011 to the present. If customer insights are so important, why aren’t these numbers increasing? Here are twelve culprits worth a good look:  

1 Weak theory development skills. 


Developing insights requires strong theory development skills. This means that managers must connect disparate observations and information obtained from various sources and methods to derive novel explanations about customers.  

2 Unreceptive organization.


As much as companies say they want insights, companies are known to suffer from status quo bias. A great deal of research shows that managers reject information that challenges their existing expectations. It’s difficult for insights to penetrate such a mentality.